Meet Kiawah River’s Jeff Snyder, Chief Environmental Officer

As the golden sun rises on the water, Jeff Snyder rolls into Kiawah River in his white truck covered with off-road dust.    

For the last 20 years, Kiawah River’s Chief Environmental Officer has grown to understand Kiawah River like his own backyard. 

No day is the same; each day has it’s own challenges. Sometimes, he starts his morning checking on crops or testing the water quality of our many impoundments and tributaries. He also looks for ways to maintain the environment’s longevity through projects that promote the well-being of our fish, birds, reptiles, and animals’ homes. His efforts keep our wildlife and habitats vibrant. 

Jeff has witnessed the property grow from farmland and private hunting grounds to a sea islands neighborhood in the last two decades. His main goal is to preserve the integrity of the land while simultaneously supporting the future of Kiawah River for the families who will co-exist here. Jeff works with the development team to ensure the focus remains to enhance the natural elements and create spontaneous opportunities for natural engagement for residents. 

“Trees planted in 2001 are becoming considerable trees now, which we will selectively transplant onto new neighborhood streets,” Jeff said. “I hope to see people enjoying them and the shade provided by the canopies well into the future.”  

While many are unaware of all the behind-the-scenes “magic” Jeff does, neighbors know him for how passionately he speaks about our plants and wildlife. He has a contagious devotion for the land and excites others to discover the hidden wonders across the expanse of our property.    

Jeff enjoys teaching others how to harvest their own vegetables, plant seeds, and support our local farms. He can tell you about the waterways, the lifecycles of plants, and the history of how Kiawah River was once a major hub for all the goods delivered to Charleston by barges.  

“I watched my son grow up on this property, and it gave me some of my greatest memories—whether he was chasing and catching grasshoppers and lizards, busting open a just-picked watermelon, or catching fish in the Great Salt Pond that were as long as he was,” Jeff said. “The thought of other kids having a chance to build those memories is a driving force in my vision for the future of Kiawah River.” 

 You would guess that Jeff has spent all of his life on Johns Island, but he originally hails from Allentown, PA. He has one son, Jacob, and a wife, Julie, and spends his free time traveling with his family and learning photography.  

Next time you see him, be sure to ask him about any recent wildlife sightings and to thank him for helping make Kiawah River a wonderful place to live.